Your immune system is the basis of your health and functions as the first round of defense against any viruses, bacteria and parasites, but the immune system is also used to clean up waste products and /or sick body cells such as cancer cells. If your immune system works well, you will have few problems with disease, you will feel fresh and healthy, with great energy. So far, so good.
Healthy food and a healthy lifestyle are important ways to keep your immune system strong from the inside out.
Operation of the immune system
Your immune system consists of the lymphatic system, the bloodstream, the skin and the digestive system. To protect your entire body against invaders, your skin, intestines, respiratory tract, blood and lymphatic systems work together to make up the immune system.
Enemies of the immune system
Nutrition and lifestyle promote the functioning of a healthy and strong immune system while other factors such as stress, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, excessive caffeine, drug use, medicines, trans fats, food additives, pesticides and environmental pollution are harmful to your immune system. Toxins, heavy metals and sugars also weaken the immune system. So you can see how healthy living and healthy food play a significant role in keeping yourself healthy, happy and maintaining good skin.
There are 8 types of food that strengthen your immune system
The foods mentioned below can significantly reduce the chance of illness and even if you are already sick the chance of recovery accelerates immensely. There are of course many more types of food that strengthen your immune system, but these do so powerfully and are also good for your overall health.
1. Probiotic food
Healthy bacteria protect your body against harmful bacteria. Regular consumption of probiotics can also lead to a faster recovery from illness, you can eat foods that contain natural probiotics and or take probiotic supplements.
Here’s a list of types of food in which probiotics naturally occur:
2. Iron-rich food
Iron is a mineral that plays an important role in your immune system. Too little iron can contribute to anemia and weakening of the immune system. Make sure you are eating enough food that contain iron such as; meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, legumes, nuts, seeds, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) and /or dried fruit. It is good idea to combine this iron-rich diet with vitamin C, because this promotes the absorption of iron.
3. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits and mandarins are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, known immunity boosters. Vitamin C is known for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps to maintain skin health, which acts as a protective barrier against inflammation, this is why we use Vitamin C in our Be Calm Brightening C Serum.
Vitamin C helps you recover quickly after a cold or flu, I actually take extra natural vitamin C daily to increase my general resistance. Other good sources with a high vitamin C content include peppers, guavas, dark leafy vegetables, broccoli, berries, tomatoes and papaya. Citrus fruits and other vitamin C rich foods can help you strengthen your immune system.
Freshly sliced ginger, tasty and healthy. Ginger contains a beneficial volatile oil with many active substances that can be useful in the event of the flu. Ginger helps you to better absorb vitamins and minerals from your diet and actively fights off unwanted intruders. I personally add ginger to fresh pressed juices or warm home-cooked meals. Did you know ginger also contains many vitamins such as vitamins B and C, beta-carotene and the minerals potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, selenium and phosphorus. I love Ginger tea in the winter time;)
Garlic contains active compounds that can help reduce the risk of infection. Garlic gives your immune system a big boost and works as a natural antibiotic, such as with fungal infections. Garlic has been used against bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites for a long time.
Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, Japanese berries, there are so many kinds of berries. Berries are a rich source of polyphenols, a group of beneficial plant substances with antimicrobial properties. Quercetin, one of those polyphenols in berries, works particularly effectively in reducing disease after intense exercise, such as during sports. Polyphenols help you protect against the influenza virus responsible for the flu. And offer protection against Staphylococcus, E. coli and Salmonella infections. Berries also contain many vitamins: vitamins C and B such as riboflavin, thiamin and niacin, which in turn contribute to a stronger immune system.
7. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are incredibly rich in nutrients, they contain calcium, selenium, copper, zinc, iron, vitamin E and vitamin B1, and even more nutrients. Sesame seeds and almonds are particularly good sources of copper and vitamin E, pumpkin seeds and cashews are rich in zinc and omega fatty acids. I personally love to add Chia Seeds to my oats or Coconut yogurt;)
Eating nuts in combination with vitamin C rich foods, such as citrus fruits, helps to improve iron absorption. Nuts and seeds are good sources of selenium, copper, zinc and vitamin E, which play an important role in your immune health.
8. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins A, B1, B6, C and the minerals magnesium, copper, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus and they contain a lot of fiber. One sweet potato contains 0.7 mg of vitamin A. This is more than the recommended daily allowance! Vitamin A is good for your eyes, it slows down the aging process and reduces the risk of cancer. Insufficient vitamin A can lead to a weakened immune system and a higher susceptibility to infection.
In addition to sweet potatoes, there are other foods that are rich in vitamin A, including carrots, dark green leafy vegetables, romaine lettuce, dried apricots, red peppers and fish.
Taking supplements to boost your immune system:
Another way to boost your immune system is to take supplements. I usually do this when I feel depleted or a cold or flu coming on. In the winter, I use natural vitamin C and natural multi vitamins, these are important to increase your resistance to the elements of environment and stress, all while strengthening your immune system.
Taking the antioxidants of vitamins A, C and E are a good start. These antioxidants help your T cells, the basic components of the immune system, fighting against bacteria and other viruses. Another useful supplement is the mineral zinc, which is necessary to keep your immune system calm and functioning properly. If you are taking a multi vitamin, pick one that contains zinc. And then at the start of a cold or flu you can take extra zinc to strengthen your immune system. Most CLEAN and NATURAL supplement companies contain a balanced composition of vitamins and minerals that allow your body to absorb all properly.
A few of my favorites to add to your family’s supplement routine are:
Olive leaf extract; this miracle worker is:
• gastroprotective (protects digestive system)
• neuroprotective (protects central nervous system)
• antimicrobial (inhibits microorganism growth)
• anticancer (reduces risk of cancer)
• anti-inflammatory (reduces risk of inflammation)
• antinociceptive (reduces pain stimuli)
• antioxidant (prevents oxidation or cell damage)
Oil of oregano -- an effective natural antibiotic and anti-fungal, may also help you lose weight and lower your cholesterol levels.
Propolis – fights against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It also has anti-inflammatory effects and helps skin heal. Amazing from those suffering from cold sores that often time come with seasonal change or stress.
Elderberry - packed with antioxidants and vitamins that may boost your immune system. They can help tame inflammation, lessen stress, and help protect your heart, too.
Taking Echinacea can also be very useful. Taking this supplement at the start of a disease helps to reduce symptoms, and you will also be sick for less time. Probiotics are a good source of bacteria for your digestion, they help with proper functioning and will stimulate your immune system.
In short, your diet and lifestyle play an important role in the functioning of your immune system. Regular consumption of the above-mentioned foods will help you to be sick less often, and if you do get sick, you will recover much faster! This all leads to better skin and a healthier, happier you!
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